Spider-Man recently began his new journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so far his new home has brought out a few new qualities to the character. Marvel and Sony went very young with casting Tom Holland in order to keep Peter Parker in high school for an extended period of time, and they quickly laid the foundation for Tony Stark to act as his mentor. The studio will also pit him against Vulture for the first time on the big screen, but when it comes to a love interest for the young hero, the studio has yet to play its cards.
When Zendaya initially joined Spider-Man: Homecoming, she was reported to be playing fellow high school student Michelle. Then, one report revealed that she is secretly playing Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man’s longtime love in the comics. After months of fan discussion over the rumored casting, Zendaya herself said she is not playing the love interest and is has once again publicly stated she is not M.J.
ET Online interviewed Zendaya and asked her about these reports, but the actress is doing the best she can to put a stop to these rumors. Here is what she said:
“Well, I’m not Mary Jane unfortunately, but I am in the movie which is exciting. My character’s name is Michelle, if that’s what everybody wants to think. I’m gonna let people think whatever they want to think.”
There are a few ways to look at Zendaya’s comments. First and foremost, her continued statements denying these rumors make it seem more likely that she is actually just Michelle. Should this be the case, it could still point to her having a prominent role in Homecoming and future Spider-Man films, but as Peter’s friend and not girlfriend.
On the flip side, while Zendaya is saying the right things, she continued to wink at the camera during her statements, which only raises even more questions. If she is to be believed, doing small gestures like these will only continue to allow people to believe in their own theories. Both she and director Jon Watts have said she is playing Michelle, which is also what she was listed on all the call sheets, but we may have to wait until her character is directly mentioned in future trailers and TV spots to see what the true case is.
There is still the chance that Zendaya and everyone else involved is still trying to preserve the mystery around her character by continuing to deny that she is in fact Mary Jane. It is possible that the reveal could be saved for the end of the movie and they are trying to save the surprise for the theaters, but at this point if she is actually Mary Jane, it may be best just to admit it. However, since they are not doing that, everyone will have to make their minds for themselves as to whether or not they believe she isn’t MJ. If she isn’t, then her character becomes a potential new creation for the movie, but if she is, then the lead up to audiences and Peter finding that out should be interesting to watch unfold.